Kapuvár
Kapuvár, Hungary · Kapuvar, Hungary
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Leaving on her nameday

Dostupné v: English | Magyar

Katalin Mester and her mother Éva Nádasdy arrived to Kapuvár from Budapest on November 24, 1956 by a crowded train. After the Hungarian revolution they decided to leave for the border and attempt to fly to Hungary, following their friends and acquaintances. They wanted to join Katalin’s father who was living in the United States. The father, Gyula Nádasy, was a former cavalry officer of the Hungarian kingdom who had emigrated to the West to avoid the pressure of the communist political police. So Éva Nádasdy and her teenager daughter chose Kapuvár as a starting point for their escape because they counted on the assistance of family contacts living there. "We got there in the evening. My mother, like a fanatic, looked for the Pintérs. An elderly couple opened the door. She was an old peasant woman in a large skirt and he an old man with a pipe. They looked at us, and asked: 'are you Éva?'” she recalled. The couple invited the refugees in their house, offered them their beds and supplied them with everything they needed. In the same evening they managed to find a smuggler who promised to help the two women to cross the frontier nearby called Balf. The next morning all of them went to mass. As Katalin recalls: "The whole village was in the church. When we returned from the church my mother realized that it was my nameday. She had a small cross around her neck, a silver cross with small diamonds. She took it off and she handed it to me.” They celebrated and then their guide arrived; "He wasn’t old, he was about forty, and didn’t speak much. My mother discussed the details with him." The mother wanted to prepare her child for the worst and she taught her indispensable information before going to bed. "She wanted to be sure that when we would cross the border I would know my father’s name, my father’s address, that I was his legal child and I wanted to go to the United States to live with him. If we were separated, if she died or she was wounded, I had to know where I would go,” she remembered. On Monday the guide came for them. They followed him resolutely with their bags. On the station they took a train again, this time to Balf.

Katalin Mester

Katalin Mester

Katalin Mester was born as Katalin Nádasy on January 28, 1944 in Budapest. She was born to a family of well-to-do businessmen on her mother's side, and landowners and state functionaries on her father’s. Her father Gyula Nádasy served as cavalry officer during WWII on the Eastern front in the Soviet Union. Her mother escaped with her newborn baby to the West before the siege of the Hungarian capital in the winter of 1945. Her father withdrew with his soldiers to Austria where he became a prisoner of war. At the end of WWII her mother returned with her child to the family house in Kőbánya. Her father returned to Hungary, too, after having been released. He couldn’t continue his life as an officer, so he directed the family’s Vince Benes’ Chemical Factory. In 1948 the communist state security forces contacted him as an ex-officer and tried to recruit him to be an informer. Instead, he chose to leave Hungary. He managed to escape across Lake Neusiedl. At first he settled in Frankfurt am Main at his sister’s, then he moved to the United States. After the nationalization both of the family factory and other family properties the family lost its means of subsistence. Her mother was forced to sell their house. They moved to the flat of the paternal grandparents which was transformed to co-tenancy in the communist regime. Her mother learned to be a secretary, then she worked as a draftsman, but as an emigrant’s and officer’s wife she lost her jobs one after the other. Finally she was engaged at VIFOGY as a blue-collar worker. Katalin Mester spent her childhood with her paternal grandfather Dezső Nádasy and attended a primary school in György Dózsa street where children of communist cadres were taught. After his grandfather’s death her mother divorced, Katalin married the solicitor Béla Spett. The family moved to a new flat in Budapest, and Katalin Mester could continue her studies in a primary school with children of middle-class families. Her family lived in their flat during the 1956 Hungarian revolution. It was nearby the Southern Railway Station on the road where the Soviet troops came into Budapest. A few friends of her mother emigrated after the revolution and also her mother decided to leave Hungary. Katalin Mester and her mother went to Kapuvár by train, where acquaintances of the family helped them to find a guide. They took a train with their guide, but they had to jump off it because of a raid in the outskirts of Balf. They were lying on the ground until the train got in motion again with those who were arrested by the soldiers. They relaxed for a bit in the smuggler's home, and then left for the border across the stubble. The man who led them, returned home unexpectedly and left the two women. They continued alone. The mother was caught by the barbed wire which had been toren. Katalin freed her and they went on the nobody’s land. They knew that they had to go in the direction of an illuminated church tower, but since there were a lot of hills around, from time to time they lost sight of their aim. When a brook hindered them, they crossed it with their bags. It was dawn when they smelled dung. They understood this meant that they had arrived to Deutschkreutz. They contacted Katalin Mester’s father from Wien who invited them to the United States. The Nádasy family was re-joined at Christmas 1956 in Buffalo, New Jersey. Katalin Mester and her mother settled down there. Katalin Mester finished her schools in Buffalo. She had a daughter from her first marriage. She lives in California with her second husband, the chemist professor Zoltán Mester, son of the former state secretary Miklós Mester.

Kapuvár

Dostupné v: English | Magyar

Kapuvár is a small town between the Rábaköz and the Hanság. The Hansági Main Canal marks the northern boundary of the town as well as the border between Austria and Hungary. Kapuvár’s territory has been inhabited since primeval times. Its name is a reference to the gate of the artificial stronghold bordering the country, so much so that up to the 18th century it had also been called Kapu ('gate'). Today it has about 11.000 inhabitants. The cityscape seen there today took shape after 1945. In the 1950s and 60s it became an important center for light and heavy industrialism. The city is also home to the Museum of the Fertő-Hanság Natural Park. In 1956 many people fleeing the country set out from Kapuvar and the neighbouring villages on foot to reach the border and start a new life in the free world outside of Hungary.

Kapuvár

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